I had booked a room at Gardena Hotel in advance by telephone, and took a taxi from Maumere airport, in eastern Flores, straight to the hotel, around a 15 minute journey, costing a surprisingly large Rp. 50,000.
The hotel is located on a quiet street near the centre of town and upon first impressions I liked the design of the building with its large, airy, central atrium that felt deliciously cool compared to the hot street outside.
I was shown to my room; all rooms lead directly off the atrium, with windows looking into this central area. My room was spacious for only Rp. 100,000 or about US$10 per night, with twin beds, a fan, a table and my own cold water bathroom, with shower, sit-down toilet and Indonesian water trough (bak mandi). Maumere is so hot that I didn’t miss hot water at all.
Staff at Gardena Hotel were friendly and helpful, and it turned out that the reception area is a favourite hang-out for tourist guides. Guides who have just completed cross-island tours from Labuan Bajo finish up in Maumere and stay at Gardena before returning home. I chatted to some of these guides and got plenty of ideas and tips for travel and accommodation during my time in Flores.
Breakfast was a toasted sandwich with pineapple spread, and tea or coffee, not particularly filling.
Unfortunately the layout of an atrium with rooms leading off it that had seemed so attractive was in fact a nuisance. Any talking or other sounds made in the atrium went straight into the rooms, so I was kept awake by people talking at night. The beds were not the most comfortable and the bathroom was in need of renovation, but I had a pleasant enough night there, and it was good value for money in Flores.